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Hard Drive Problems/Transfer of PST file from Mac to Ext HD


I'm trying to copy a Microsoft PST file saved on my Mac.  The Mac runs OS X Lion version 10.7.5.  It is a 21.5 inch 2011-era Mac with the flat screen containing the computer, drive, etc.

The PST file is about 19 GB is size.

The hard drive is a Toshiba 1TB drive (USB portable) with four equal partitions of 250 GB, formatted as MS-DOS (FAT).

When I try to copy the 19 GB PST file to any 250 GB partition, the drive tells me the file is too big.  Specifically, it says "The item “JRL.pst” can’t be copied because it is too large for the volume's format.  Can you please help?

My goal is to take this HD, connect it to a PC laptop, and download the PST file for use in MS Outlook.  I don't have Outlook on the Mac, obviously.



Hi Jon!

FAT32 has a file size limit of 4GB.


Windows uses NTFS, but Macs can't write to it.
Macs use HFS, but Windows can't read it.

So, either way, you are going to need to get a utility - one that can help a Mac write to an NTFS file system, or one that can help Windows read HFS.  I don't use Macs, so I don't have any specific suggestions.

Feel free to contact me with any additional questions!

Good luck!

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I can answer questions about server hardware RAID and general storage for servers and PC's - hard drive issues, troubleshooting, advice, specs, and information. While some apparent drive/RAID array failures can be recovered, I can only provide advice/recommendations in the event of catastrophic data loss. I don't assist in actually recovering from this type of data loss on this forum.


I worked as an analyst in Dell server support for 2 years, and have since worked with many Dell PowerEdge servers. I am currently employed as IT Manager. I am currently ranked in the top 5 All-Time in Server Hardware and Hard Drives in a very popular and large forum similar to AllExperts.

I have a BS in Computer Science and have earned the following certifications: CompTIA Security+, A+, Project+; CIW Web Design, Database Specialist; Microsoft Windows 7; Dell DCSE Server. I am also an expert in Windows 7, Servers, and Hard Drives (I don't normally do XP - not because I don't know it inside and out, but because I have "retired" personal support for XP, and I want to see it die :)).

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